Debates - Tuesday, 16th February, 2016

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Tuesday, 16th February, 2016

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






The Minister of Gender (Prof. Luo): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me the opportunity to brief this House and the nation at large on the First African Girls’ Summit which was held here, in Zambia, from 26th to 27th November, 2015. 

Sir, as you will appreciate, Zambia is a signatory to a number of international and regional conventions and agreements on the rights of the child such as the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child and African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. To underscore its commitment and obligations to the international and regional conventions and agreements in addressing developmental challenges such as teenage pregnancies and child marriages, Zambia has made considerable efforts to end this scourge by launching the Campaign Against Child Marriage in 2013 and co-sponsoring the UN Resolution on Ending Child Marriage with the Canadian Government in 2014.

Mr Speaker, because the world recognises Zambia’s effort in ending child marriage, the Commission of the African Union (AU) requested Zambia to host the First Girls’ Summit on Ending Child Marriage in Africa, which was originally supposed to be held by the Government of Niger.

Sir, it is against this background that the Government of the Republic of Zambia, with support from various partners, hosted the First Girls’ Summit on Ending Child Marriage in Africa. The summit was attended by 1,100 delegates from across the African Continent. The participants included hon. Ministers dealing with socio-developmental issues and children’s affairs, First Ladies and former First Ladies of Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa and Zambia, religious and community leaders, youth advocates, women and girls affected or survivors of child marriage. The summit also attracted representatives from civil society organisations, media from around the world, development partners, UN agencies, bilateral and multi-lateral agencies, including celebrities who have been championing the Campaign to Ending Child Marriage in Africa.

Mr Speaker, the main objective of the summit was to share the experiences, good practices and challenges that we have been faced with in ending child marriage at country, regional and continental levels, particularly with countries that have already launched the Campaign Against Ending Child Marriage under the hospices of the AU. The summit was also structured to secure and/or renew commitments from stakeholders, notably governments, to invest more on ending child marriage in their respective countries. It was also a forum to discuss the successes and challenges faced by communities, traditional and religious leaders, girls affected by child marriage and youths who are advocating an end to child marriage.

Sir, I am glad to report that the summit was officiated and opened by the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu. The theme of the summit was, “Translating the Rhetoric into Actions: Girls at Centre Stage”.

 Mr Livune: Question!

Prof. Luo: You will continue shouting, “question!” and will be surprised that we are ahead of you.

 Mr Livune: Question!


Prof. Luo: In his address, His Excellency the President emphasised the need for developing partnerships in ending child marriage in Africa. He emphasised that strong partnerships should be initiated from the inception phase of work on ending child marriage, up to the implementation and monitoring stages. He said that he wants child marriage eradicated in Zambia as soon as possible.

 Mr Speaker, the summit also provided an opportunity for different stakeholders to question whether it was right to refer to the union between children or a child and an adult as child marriage, as this, to us, gender activists, is seen as an aspect of gender-based violence (GBV) which falls under the category of sexual abuse. It also provided an opportunity for participants to review the role that the leadership and young people can play in ending child marriage and other harmful traditional practices across the African Continent.

In addition, delegates had the chance to network and share experiences, case studies, good practices and challenges faced at country, regional and international levels. Countries that have already launched the AU Campaign on Ending Child Marriage also had the opportunity to share experiences and details of the processes, and approaches they had employed to end child marriage. The summit also set a stage for further co-operation among governments, social welfare offices across Africa, highlighting countries that had successful case studies …


Mr Speaker: Order, both on my left and right!  
Prof. Luo: … on initiatives to end child marriage and harmful traditional practices. 


Prof. Luo: Sir, I will have arrested all those who are into child marriage. 

Mr Speaker, Zambia showcased traditional leaders who have actively joined hands to vigorously fight and end early/child marriage in the country. For example, His Royal Highness Chief Madzimawe shared that he was still disheartened that the Eastern Province had the highest statistics of early/child marriage in Zambia, with a prevalence rate of 63 per cent. 

The chief also highlighted the frantic efforts his chiefdom was making to ensure that forced and child marriages were completely eradicated. He also shared with the summit that he always took advantage of his presence at the various traditional ceremonies in the country to engage and dialogue with his counterparts in order to come up with various interventions on how best they could collaborate to end child marriages.

Mr Speaker, allow me to inform this august House and the nation at large that the stakeholders at the First Girls Summit on Ending Child Marriage committed itself to: 

(a)    advocating for appropriate legislation and policies that effectively prohibit and prevent child marriages;


Mr Speaker: Order! Order! 

Prof. Luo:

(b)    promoting the Campaign to Ending Child Marriage in Africa and helping to popularise the Common African Position;

(c)    encouraging and supporting member states to launch national campaigns to ending child marriages;

(d)    assisting member states to develop and strengthen national strategies and programmes aimed at ending child marriages;

(e)    supporting member states to collect data on child marriage and strengthen national mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation towards greater accountability;

(f)    organising activities with communities, the media, civil society organisations, foundations and the private sector to increase awareness and understanding of issues relating to child marriage;

(g)    developing multi-sector partnerships to mobilise resources for national and community-level initiatives to eliminate child marriage; and

(h)    disseminating good practices and evidence on effective policies and programmes to end child marriage; and 

(i)    strengthening partnerships with communities, particularly youth-led organisations and civil society organisations.

Further, Mr Speaker, all AU Member States were called upon to:

(a)    translate the Common African Position on Ending Child Marriage in Africa into action by establishing, funding and implementing comprehensive national action plans to end child marriage and other harmful practices;

(b)    establish and enforce legislation that set the minimum age for marriage at eighteen, and that effectively prohibit, prevent, punish and redress child marriage, including the cross border movement of girls for child marriage purposes;

(c)    invest in all girls, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable in society, in order for them to have the knowledge, education, skills and self-confidence to live full and productive lives;

(d)    monitor progress towards all continental and national commitments relating to ending child marriage, harmful traditional practices and the empowerment, and participation of women and girls in line with the AU Agenda 2063 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and

(e)    ensure that ending child marriage remains high on the political agenda at global, continental, regional and national levels.

Mr Speaker, I want to end by saying that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government remains committed and open to dialogue and will welcome all progressive ideas on matters relating to ending child marriage. This will be done in partnership with all stakeholders and the Government.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement given by the hon. Minister of Gender.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the good statement. However, I would like to find out from her which countries in Africa have the highest prevalence rate of child marriage.

Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, the country with the highest prevalence rate of child marriage is the Republic of Niger where it stands at 75 per cent. However, let me take this opportunity to say that the prevalence rate for Zambia stands at 42 per cent, with the highest being in the Eastern Province at 60 per cent.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for the important statement. My question relates to the best practices that were shared among member states during the summit. Is she able to tell us which country has the best practices? Also, looking at what Zambia has been doing in this fight, what new ideas can be applied to help curb this vice?

Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I can proudly say to this august House that most African countries are learning from Zambia. Zambia has been identified as the country that has come up with the best strategy to fight child marriage. About eleven ministries came together to develop a strategy using our comparative advantage on how we can fight child marriage. No country has ever done this. Secondly, we mobilised traditional leaders to join in the fight, contrary to what most people thought that they would be the most difficult to come to the table and participate. In fact, I think they have beaten us, politicians, to the game and have been very active all over the country. Furthermore, we mobilised religious and other opinion leaders to join in the fight. Zambia shared its best practices in most of the sessions of the summit.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, …

Mr Musonda: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Musonda: Mr Speaker, I wish to apologise to the hon. Member for Mafinga for interrupting her debate.

Sir, last Saturday, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, addressed a meeting in Bweengwa. After the meeting, some Government officials and members of the press were ambushed and detained by some alleged United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres.

Mr Hamududu interjected.
Mr Musonda: Mr Speaker, …

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Bweengwa, that is unlike you.


Mr Speaker: There is no way you can justify your reaction.

Mr Musonda: Mr Speaker, my point of order is on the hon. Minister of Home Affairs. Is he in order to come to this House and not inform the nation about the action that is being taken to maintain peace in the country?

Sir, I need your serious ruling.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: My ruling, as you may predict, is to request the hon. Minister of Home Affairs to issue a statement on the subject in the course of this week.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, before the point of order was raised, I was lamenting the fact that with a prevalence rate of 42 per cent, Zambia can hardly be considered a role model in this fight. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the meetings that have been held, so far, have considered the fact that the low economic status of rural communities is a contributing factor to child marriage. If the Government has considered that fact, what strategies have been put in place to ensure that the economic status of rural people is improved?

Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I would like to take advantage of this question to inform the House that my colleagues from the other ministries will also inform the House what they are doing in regard to this issue. However, from the situation analysis that was conducted, we, as a ministry, have recognised the need to restructure the Empowerment Programme around the country. It is clear that people in rural areas mostly depend on agricultural activities. So, we have put in place a programme called Agriculture Development Value Chain Enterprises (ADVCE), which is one of the strategies used to empower rural communities. I will bring a ministerial statement to the House on this programme. As a ministry, we have decided to take the hoes, as agricultural tools or implements, to the museum and will share with you what we are doing.

Secondly, Sir, my ministry will soon launch a programme known as Girls’ Education and Women’s Empowerment and Livelihood (GEWEL). In this programme, my ministry will work with the Ministries of General Education and Community Development and Social Welfare. Resources, amounting to US$65 million have been mobilised in order to get all the vulnerable children in school and empower the families that the children come from in order to sustain the lives of the girl children. That way, they can benefit from the education system from primary to college and university levels.

In addition, Mr Speaker, we know that tradition has contributed to girls not being able to speak for themselves, and their lacking assertiveness and self esteem. Tomorrow, I will launch a programme called, “Women at Work”. This programme is aimed at empowering girls through mentorship at different levels of institutions in order to boost their self esteem and assertiveness. We also know that boys should be well cultured and coached. So, tomorrow, we shall also launch the “Boys to Men Programme”, where we shall work with young boys so that they grow up having respect for the girl child and do not agree to marry a ten or twelve-year-old girl.

I thank you, Sir.

Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, the policy thrust of the conference was a call to invest more in the campaign for girls’ education and combat teenage pregnancy, and early marriages. Hon. Minister, this campaign has been on since 2013. Could you enlighten us on how well we have fared in the area of resource mobilisation for this campaign.

Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, we got about U$300,000 from the Graҫa Machel Trust for us to start the campaign. After that, we raised another US$1 million from the United States Government to develop a communication strategy for the campaign. Furthermore, we were given US$1.7 million by the Canadian Government for us to continue with the campaign. We also raised over 600,000 pounds sterling from the British Government for the campaign. For the Boys to Men Programme, we have raised US$1.7 million, while US$1.6 million has been raised for the Girls at Work Programme. For the education of the girl child, we have raised US$65 million. So, that gives you an idea of what the ministry is doing to deal with this issue.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear! Ema Ministers, aya!

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that statement and for her passion for the welfare of the girl child. This campaign started way before the Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) set in, in our country. 

Sir, culturally, when a girl falls pregnant, what normally happens is that the parents to the girl take her to whoever is responsible for the pregnancy. Have you researched to find out if there is any correlation between teenage pregnancy or early childhood pregnancy and early child marriage?

Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, we have conducted two researches and situation analyses. One of them is a regional study on Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania to compare the situation in the three countries. We have also carried out a comprehensive situation analysis of Zambia to look at all the issues relating to child marriage. Obviously, the issue of teenage pregnancy cannot escape us. There is a correlation between child marriage and teenage pregnancy, as some of the girls find themselves in marriages because they fell pregnant first. There is also a strong correlation between a lack of recreational facilities in the communities and poor attendance in schools. So, boys and girls play around a bon fires at night as a form of entertainment. In a few minutes, they wander off in pairs and, before long, the girls fall pregnant.

Sir, let me also hasten to say that child marriages in Zambia are not only between adults and girl children. There are also marriages between boy children and girl children. Most of these could have been a result of teenage pregnancy. So, you have children marrying fellow children. In terms of interventions, these have to target the different activities that children engage in. Let me also hasten to say that this is the reason Zambia, in 2013, also launched a programme known as, “Promise Renewed” under the then Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health that was aimed at fighting child marriages and teenage pregnancies. I am sure that now the programme is under the Ministry of Health since the Mother and Child aspects were moved back to the Ministry of Health.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out when the hon. Minister of Gender will bring to this House a Bill that will criminalise child marriage in Zambia.

Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, two Bills are scheduled to be brought to this House. There is the Marriage Bill that addresses the pertinent issues of child marriage and the Child Code Bill. 

Mr Speaker, let me take advantage of this question to share with this august House and the nation at large that one of the reasons we have problems with the issue of child marriage is the dual legal system, which consists of both customary and statute laws. Most people use customary law to get away with child marriage. 

Furthermore, we do not have a single definition of a child. For a driving licence, one ceases to be a child at the age of sixteen. For admission into hospital, children are those below fourteen years old. As regards voting, people cease to be children at the age of eighteen. If they are in the villages, they cease to be children as soon as they reach puberty. So, the Child Code Bill is going to define who a child is. So, the two Bills will be brought to Parliament. However, they are both still in draft form. We have just passed the Child Code Bill on to the hon. Minister of Youth and Sport. Thereafter, it will be brought to the House. 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, in her response, the hon. Minister said that part of the problem is the contradiction or controversy between customary and statute law. I would like to understand where the difficulty really lies given that statute law is supreme to customary law. As far as the constitute is concerned, wherever there is an inconsistency with any written law to the constitute, statute law is supreme which, by and large, also recognises customary law. In short, customary law is subservient to statute law. So, where is the problem? Is the ministry providing enough education for people to understand that whereas customary law is operational, it is subservient to statute law?

Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I am glad that the hon. Member of Parliament who has asked this question actually represents a rural part of Zambia. We all know the difficulties that exist in the rural parts of Zambia. Therefore, I elect to start the education on this matter in Choma and then the hon. Member can help me extend it to the rest of the country.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.




277. Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central) asked the Minister of Home Affairs:

(a)    when the construction of the National Registration Office block in Kalabo District, which had stalled, would resume;

(b)    what the cause of the delay in completing the project was; and

(c)    what the time frame for the completion of the project was.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Col. Chanda): Sir, the contractor engaged to construct the National Registration Office block in Kalabo District is back on site and construction works resumed on 30th December, 2015. The completion of the project has delayed due to a lack of financial resources to commence the works. The contractor was waiting for a up-front payment in order to mobilise and start the works. However, this has been resolved and the contractor is back on site. The time frame for the completion of the project is eighteen months. Therefore, it is expected that the office block for national registration in Kalabo will be handed over to the Government in July, 2017.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has stated that the problem of financial resources has been solved and the contractor is now back on site. Will this problem not recur and result in the project stalling again and the project not being completed in the scheduled eighteen months?

Col. Chanda: Mr Speaker, we are interested in ensuring that the project is completed as soon as possible. If it was not for the financial constraints that the country is currently faced with, we would have been telling a different story. At this stage, all I can do is assure the hon. Member that the Ministry of Home Affairs, in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance, will do everything possible to ensure that this project does not stall again.

I thank you, Sir.


278. Mr Mulomba (Magoye) (on behalf of Mr Hamusonde) (Nangoma)) asked the Minister of Health:

(a)    when the Namabanga Rural Health Centre in Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency would be opened to the public; and

(b)    when the construction of staff houses at the health centre would commence.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Mr Speaker, Namabanga Rural Health Centre in Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency is a Constituency Development Fund (CDF) project. The health centre is expected to be opened to the public in April, 2016. The delay in opening the health centre is mainly due to repair works that have to be carried out on the borehole that collapsed two months ago. The Ministry of Health is liaising with the council with regard to its repair and this is expected to be carried out prior to the opening of the facility.

Mr Speaker, the construction of staff houses at Namabanga Rural Health Centre has commenced. There is currently one staff house under construction by Child Fund International. An additional staff house will be constructed by the Ministry of Health under the Infrastructure Operational Plan for 2016.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


279. Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West) asked the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development:

(a)    what progress had been made in the exploration for oil and gas in the following areas:

(i)    Kayombo in Kabompo District;
(ii)    Zambezi West Bank in Chavuma District;
(iii)    Zambezi West Bank in Zambezi District; and
(iv)    Western Province; and

(b)    when the mining of oil and gas in these areas would commence.

The Deputy Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr Musukwa): Mr Speaker, sufficient progress has been made in the exploration for oil and gas in the above-mentioned places. In this regard, the progress in specific areas is as follows:


Kayombo in Kabompo District

Mr Speaker, Zambai Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) that holds an exploration licence to the blocks covering part of Kayombo area has concluded an environmental project brief in readiness to commence exploration activities. 

Zambezi West Bank in Chavuma District

Mr Speaker, as in the case of Kayombo area, ZCCM-IH who has an exploration licence to the block in Zambezi West Bank Area, has equally concluded an environmental project brief in readiness for the commencement of exploration activities.

Mr Speaker, it must be noted that in both cases, ZCCM-IH requested the Government for the two licences in order to attract a credible investor to partner with it because of the size of the licences.

Zambezi West Bank in Zambezi District

Mr Speaker, the four companies that hold licences to the blocks located in this area have not yet carried out any exploration activities.

Western Province

Mr Speaker, none of the three companies, which are domiciled in this area who hold exploration licences, have commenced exploration works.

Mr Speaker, mining of oil and gas will only commence when a commercially viable discovery is made in the areas.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for that elaborate answer. In the case of Kayombo and Chavuma, when will exploration activities commence given the fact that ZCCM-IH has completed its preliminary works?

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Lufuma for that question. As indicated in our preliminary response, ZCCM-IH has finished the preliminary brief on all the requirements. However, the licences that were issued were small. So, for ZCCM-IH to attract investment, it needed to have a bigger licence. So, all the licences have been put together with the help of the hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development through the Petroleum Committee to attract a huge investor who should be able to help it forward.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the possibilities of the presence of oil and gas in the above-mentioned areas were known as far back as 2007 or 2008. Why is it that in the past eight years or so, the only thing that has been achieved, though not fully, is the conclusion of the environmental impact studies? Why have we not seen much more progress on the matter in eight years?

The Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr Yaluma): Mr Speaker, firstly, when we go around demarcating the blocks, we are guided by the microbial research which is conducted by the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development. That is the first indication of a possibility of gas or oil. It is those microbial tests that guide us. The tests were carried out in 2007. That is what revealed the potential of the availability of oil in the areas and they were demarcated. 

Sir, when we know there is a possibility of striking gas or oil in an area, we go out to conduct further exploration. This is why we invite exploration companies to come and conduct exploration activities. About seventy licences were issued to a number of companies shortly after the research was carried out. Out of these, none has been active. We terminated licences for most companies. 

Mr Speaker, in 2013, we introduced a wide bidding system across the country, inviting all interested prospecting explorers to come and explore for oil. We demarcated about thirty-one blocks, but the bidders only acquired nine successfully. There are nine licences being held by five companies because some of them got two licences. 

Sir, exploring for oil and gas is not an activity that can be conducted overnight. It takes a long time and it is costly. So, people who go into this business should know what they are doing, as the investment is a sunk cost. You can either find the oil or not. So, they invest at a risk. Nevertheless, I think we are doing well so far. 

Mr Speaker, the current exploration activities are promising because we think gas will definitely be found in one place. There has been no indication for oil yet. Please, bear with us because this is a long process.. Exploration for oil and gas is very involving and it requires a lot of money.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister how reputable the oil-prospecting companies that the hon. Minister has mentioned are compared to those that have discovered oil in Lake Malawi, off the East African Coast, Uganda and Ghana. How reputable are the companies he is talking about that are afraid of the sunk cost?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, reputation is a relative term. Companies usually merge to go into oil and gas exploration. The companies you have heard about in Kenya, Uganda and Malawi are the same ones that are prospecting for oil and gas in Zambia. They have good reputation because they have struck oil wherever they have been if there is oil. If there is oil in the blocks that I have mentioned, they will do the same in our country. I think they have the potential and capacity to strike oil.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, as a matter of interest, would the hon. Minister be in a position to tell me which companies hold rights over the oil blocks in the Western Province.

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, yes, we can provide the answer. Barotse Petroleum Company Limited is the major company holding the rights in the Western Province.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, of the seven companies that hold exploration licences and have not commenced any works, why can you not revoke their licences and give them to people who can commence works on time?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, like I said earlier, all the companies that have proved not to have performed in the past years have had their licences revoked and the blocks taken back for bidding. So, we want to be as transparent as possible as we go forward.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, may I find out from the hon. Minister how credible the research which was undertaken and led to the conclusion that there is a presence of oil and gas in various parts of the country was. Surely, if the research was credible and the existence of oil and gas has been confirmed, then, exploration could have been expedited. How credible was this research?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, I stated earlier that credibility is a relative term. However, the geological staff in the ministry carry out litmus tests to help us determine where there are possibilities of the occurrence of hydro-carbons. It is a simple test. Any activity beyond this is undertaken by those who obtain exploration licences. 

 Sir, the indication of a possible occurrence of hydro-carbons does not necessarily entail the presence of oil. To a lesser extent, this may result in exploring companies abandoning projects by. However, this is the only lead we can give, considering the cost of exploration. You need to invest money at a high risk. There is no guarantee that there will be a return on this investment. This is why we only carry out microbiology testing.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mulomba: Mr Speaker, I am made to understand that there were some blocks which were specifically reserved for the Government to explore. What has happened to these blocks?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, the blocks were reserved for the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) which will go out to source investment from any interested party. The other reserved blocks will be tendered. Initially, thirty-one blocks were available for bidding in 2013, and about nine licences were issued to five companies. So, in the next one-and-a-half weeks, we are going to advertise the remaining blocks.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, shall we see oil at the end of the day?


Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member should be optimistic. Otherwise, he will remain behind. He will see oil. As for gas, I can tell him that we are just about to hit it and we shall come and shout, “Eureka!” here and everybody will join in the dance.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


280. Mr Namulambe asked the Minister of Justice when the construction of a subordinate court in Mpongwe District would commence.

The Deputy Minister of Justice (Mr Mukata): Mr Speaker, the Government is committed to building a subordinate court in Mpongwe. To this effect, a provision shall be made for this in the 2017 Budget. In the interim, the subordinate court shall continue to hold its sittings at the local court building.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mwamba (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, there are a number of subordinate courts, which the Government has recently constructed, but have not been opened. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister when the courts will be opened.

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, the challenge is twofold. Firstly, the deployment of staff has been delayed on account of a lack of funding. This matter is pending clearance with the Ministry of Finance. Secondly, even when funds to deploy staff are available, we have constraints with accommodation. This is why we have adopted a policy to match the construction of court infrastructure with accommodation.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, there is a court in Mitete, but there are no houses. When will the staff houses be built? Currently, staff who are supposed to be working in Mitete and drawing salaries are operating from somewhere else.
Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, we are cognisant of the constraints occasioned upon the court system as a result of a lack of accommodation. However we have an Infrastructure Development Plan for accommodation, a copy of which I have here with me. I indicated to staff in the Ministry of Justice this morning that we need to be more visible and disseminate information, and engage our colleagues on a continuous basis. 

Sir, although Mitete has not been included on this plan, a lot of areas where there is local court and subordinate court infrastructure in the Western Province have been included and scheduled for the construction of houses. So, perhaps, if we engaged, we could try to speed up the process of having it included on to the Infrastructure Development Plan. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, the question was about a subordinate court in Mpongwe. However, I realise that the hon. Minister has been giving bonus answers relating to other courts. Would the hon. Minister be kind enough to indicate to all of us that local courts will be put up in areas such as Siyachitema.

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, it is an obligation of the Government to provide services. We have an inescapable duty to roll out these programmes to all the parts of the country. Otherwise, we will be failing and reneging on our constitutional duty. So, I can confirm that subordinate courts will be put up in those areas. Like I indicated earlier, we have infrastructure development plans that are imbedded in our development plans. We have had funding constraints but, like some prominent personalities have posited, there is no finish line to development. We shall get there someday.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Members who have asked supplementary questions because they have made me digest the earlier response by the hon. Minister. 

Sir, the hon. Minister stated that the subordinate court will be included in the 2017 Budget and that, in the meantime, it will continue to utilise the local court structures. Will this consideration also include putting up houses for the local court magistrate whose building is being utilised, but there is no house there?

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, in fact, the ministry decided to put up houses instead of a subordinate court in the medium term. In Lesa and Mpongwe, for instance, two low cost houses are being constructed at a cost of K350,000 each. One medium cost house will also be constructed at a cost of K500,000. 

Mr Speaker, it was felt that rather than create an additional problem of having a court building that would be serviced by staff who have no accommodation, we should provide accommodation since there is some infrastructure that they are using for a subordinate court in the meantime.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


281. Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo) asked the Minister of Health:

(a)     when the following newly-constructed health posts in Sikongo Parliamentary Constituency would be opened to the public:

(i)    Makia;
(ii)    Mabua;
(iii)    Liundu; and
(iv)    Mutala; and

(b)    what had caused the delay in opening the health posts.

Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, the health posts will be opened to the public as soon as construction works have been completed. The status of the works is as follows:

(a)    Makia – this is a Constituency Development Fund (CDF)-funded project. The Out Patient Department (OPD) and staff houses have been completed and funds are being mobilised to construct the Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrines so that the facility can be opened to the public in April, 2016;

(b)    Mabua – this is a Ministry of Health-funded project. The OPD, staff house and the VIP latrines have been completed and the contractor is attending to snags. The Ministry of Health is currently making preparations to post staff in readiness for the opening of the facility in March, 2016;

(c)    Liundu – this is another CDF-funded project. The OPD and staff houses have been completed and funds are being mobilised to construct the VIP latrines so that the facility can be operationalised by April, 2016; and 

(d)    Mutala – this is a Ministry of Health-funded project. The clinic building has been completed, while the staff house is at slab level. Blocks to complete the staff house and VIP latrines have been moulded and are on site. However, there has been a challenge in getting the contractor to mobilise mainly due to erratic funding. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Ndalamei: Mr Speaker, since the contractor has failed to mobilise and complete Mutala Health Post, is the ministry not considering terminating the contract so that we find another contractor who can complete the health post?
Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, failure by the contractor to mobilise and complete the health post is due to our inability to release resources timely. So, it is not entirely his fault. We are in the process of mobilising resources and the contractor will be able to move back on site as soon as he is funded. 

I thank you, Sir. 


282. Mr Chansa (Chimbamilonga) asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a)    when the construction of the Mbala/Nsumbu Road in Nsama District would commence; and 

(b)    whether the rehabilitation of Lufubu Bridge would be part of the project.
The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Dr Mwali): Mr Speaker, works on Lot I will cover 33 km of the Mbala/Nsumbu Road and will commence in the second quarter of 2016. Works under Lot I will also cover 26 km of the road to Chief Tafuna’s Palace and 36 km of the access road to Chief Mphande’s Palace. However, these roads are not along the Mbala/Nsumbu Road.

Sir, the construction of a bridge on Lufubu River will not be part of the Mbala/Nsumbu Road contract as it is being procured separately as a stand-alone project. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister to clarify the timeline for the construction of this road will commence. Why should this House consider taking his answer seriously, given that ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member, just put a point of clarification. This is not an occasion for you to begin addressing the House on how they should treat the response from the hon. Minister. 

Are you through with your question? You were asking about timelines. 

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, why should this House take seriously the response by the hon. Minister on the timeline for the construction of the Mbala/Nsumbu Road when he has assured the House and the nation before that repairs on the Kafue/Mazabuka Road would commence in September last year but, to date, they have not? Why should we take him seriously when he gives responses that are not true? 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!
Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, we are happy that Hon. Chansa has accepted our assurance and will definitely make sure that works under Lot I of the Mbala/Nsumbu Road commence in the second quarter of this year. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, only last week, we heard that the road leading to the tourist attraction, Kasaba Bay, is ...

Mr Mweetwa: On a point of order, Sir. 

Mr Speaker: Order!

A point of order is raised. 

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, I would like to apologise to the hon. Member, who was on the Floor, for interrupting his thought process. 

Sir, when we ask questions, we do so on behalf of the people we represent. We ask questions earnestly believing that they deserve answers. Is the hon. Minister in order to refuse or neglect to respond to an innocent question which I asked? I asked him why we should trust the answers coming from the Patriotic Front (PF) Administration now when they have assured us before on the Floor of the House that they would work on the Kafue/Mazabuka Road, which is in a deplorable state and is risking the lives of citizens, including hon. Members like me, who has just used that road, but the road has not been worked on?  

Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister in order to treat my question in a mischievous way and only acknowledge that his fellow PF hon. Member of Parliament has accepted his response which is unsatisfactory? 

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, I need your serious ruling.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

A specific question has been put to the hon. Minister. If you wish to pursue the road in question, do so independently. You do not have to rely on a response to a question relating to another road elsewhere in order to establish the status quo of the road in Choma, which you represent. You have the freedom, right and privilege to pursue matters that affect your constituents. Do not use the question by the hon. Member for Chimbamilonga to hold the Executive to account on the road in the Southern Province. In any case, they need to research on specific matters so that they can give you an informed response as opposed to an impromptu reaction. So, the hon. Minister is perfectly in order. Of course, occasionally, the hon. Ministers go out of their way to provide the so-called bonus answers, which I give a blind eye to, anyway. 

The hon. Member for Kalomo Central may continue. 

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, notwithstanding the fact that the hon. Member of Parliament for Chimbamilonga seems to be satisfied with the answer, only last week, he complained about how sad and ‘painful’ it is that the Kasaba Bay Airport and the road that leads to it have not been repaired. 

Hon. Minister, what is your assurance that this time around, your promise to repair the road and airport in the second quarter of this year will come to fruition and that works will not be abandoned, causing more pain to the hon. Member of Parliament for Chimbamilonga?


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, I should emphasise to the hon. Member of Parliament for Chimbamilonga that we are done with the procurement process. At this stage, we are just waiting for the contractor to mobilise. In fact, there is an allocation of K11.5 million under the Road Sector Annual Work Plan in this year’s Budget. I can only emphasise that we shall do the works and continue serving the people of Zambia. 

I thank you, Sir. 


283. Mr Mbewe (Chadiza) asked the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry:

(a)    how many persons benefitted from the Citizens’ Economic Empowerment Fund from its inception to 31st October, 2015; and

(b)    of the beneficiaries, how many were disabled individuals.
The Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Mpundu): Mr Speaker, 52,512 people benefitted from the Citizens’ Economic Empowerment Fund from its inception in 2007 to 31st October, 2015. Forty-one persons with disabilities benefited from the fund. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, we are discussing Government resources to which Members of Parliament and the people of Chadiza are part and parcel. Hon. Minister, when are you going to bring the names of the people who have benefitted from the fund as well as those who have failed to pay back the loans?
Mr Mpundu: Mr Speaker, according to banking laws, this is confidential information which cannot be disclosed to third parties unless under a court order. 

I thank you, Sir.  

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the ministry is in a position to give us the breakdown of the beneficiaries, province by province, district by district and constituency by constituency.

Mr Mpundu: Mr Speaker, we are able to do that if a question is filed in. A substantive Question is required for us to prepare this statistical information. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Speaker: Let me provide guidance in case we get bogged down unnecessarily. If you have any information that you would like to get, file in a question. If there are any impediments, I will let you know. 

Hon. Member for Kalomo Central, you may ask your question. 

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister was asked to provide a list of the beneficiaries of the Citizens’ Economic Empowerment Fund since its inception. How come we now need a court order to get the list of beneficiaries? 

Mr Speaker: I have just given guidance.


Mr Speaker: I saw this coming. Is there any other question? 

Hon. Member for Siavonga, you may ask your question. 

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, I hope my question will be acceptable. 


Mr Hamudulu: Sir, I would like to believe that targets were set at the inception of the fund. I would like the hon. Minister to rate the performance of the fund against the targets that were set. 

The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mrs Mwanakatwe): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for that question.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Mwanakatwe: I beg your pardon, hon. Member. 
Mr Speaker: He is not a Minister. 


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Yes, Sir.  

Mr Speaker: He is the hon. Member of Parliament for Siavonga. Continue.

Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, I would like to assure the hon. Member of Parliament for Siavonga that the Citizens’ Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) has got targets. If you want us to come and share those targets with you, we will be happy to do so. We are a very focused institution with targets per sector per province. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that the commission has set targets and we understand that. However, hon. Minister, are you happy with the targets and have you achieved them? 

Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, while some targets have been met, others have not for some good reasons, some of which are financial. However, we are working hard to go round this. Some reasons are purely infrastructural because some constituencies are very difficult to access. That is why the Government is ensuring that there is road infrastructure to make every constituency that is represented in this House accessible. So, yes, we have achieved some targets, exceeded some and not achieved others.  

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, the question was on how the commission rates itself. For instance, Hon. Minister, is it very bad, poor or very good?

Mrs Mwanakatwe: Extremely good, Mr Speaker. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister talked about targets and their achievement. What exactly is she talking about because she is quite abstract? Can the hon. Minister operationalise this thing called “targets”. 

Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, thankfully, I do not work in abstract, but reality. I can share with you that we have got targets in agriculture, agro-processing, education, energy, fisheries, forestry, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), manufacturing, mining, tourism, trading and transport per district per province. 

As I said earlier, we shall share with you what we have achieved in each province and district if you file in a question, as guided by the Hon. Mr Speaker. Do not forget that we operate in each district and province.

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha (Keembe): Mr Speaker, I commend the hon. Minister for having targets. However, what are the targets for fisheries in Keembe Constituency in Chibombo District?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, if that information is at the tips of your fingers, supply it.

Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, I do not have the data. However, there are fisheries in Chitambo in Central Province, Luanshya, Ndola and Kitwe on the Copperbelt Province, Nchelenge and Mwansabombwe in Luapula, Rufunsa in Lusaka …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Minister, this is a very simple exercise. Do you have the data on Keembe?

Mrs Mwanakatwe: There are no fisheries in Keembe because we have had no applications from there.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will repeat the question. Do you have data on Keembe?

Mrs Mwanakatwe: No, Sir. There are no fisheries in Keembe.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, since the hon. Minister seems to have the figures with her, what are the agro-processing targets for Kalomo?

Mr Speaker: I think I will save time because there might be no end to this. We should take this earnestly. If you want data, file in a question. On several occasions, I have made rulings that we should not expect hon. Ministers to be encyclopaedic. However, if hon. Ministers have the information, I always give them the liberty to volunteer it. If they do not, then, there is nothing damning about it. It is as simple as that.
Mr Antonio (Kaoma Central): Mr Speaker, how can the hon. Minister rate the commission extremely good when they have not met all their targets?

Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, I have rated the commission extremely good because I know the type of people who are running that institution. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah! 

Mrs Mwanakatwe: I know the level of enthusiasm and determination they show, the experience they have and the results they have produced. I am not saying that they do not have any constraints, but the amount of effort that these young men and women put into the work of the institution to ensure that each district has running projects is absolutely fascinating.

I thank you, Sir.


284.    Mr Mbewe asked the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning when the payment of terminal benefits to retirees would be decentralised to provincial centres in order to alleviate the hardships retirees go through when they travel to Lusaka.

The Deputy Minister in the Vice-President’s Office (Mr Bwalya): Mr Speaker, terminal benefits consist of, among other things, accrued leave days pay, repatriation allowances and any other allowances that may not have been paid at the time the employee was in employment. They are decentralised because they are paid by respective departments at district or provincial levels. 

Sir, the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) has decentralised to all the provinces in order to attend to the needs of its members, pensioners and beneficiaries. In this regard, the PSPF has nineteen offices spread across all the provinces, namely:

Office            Province
Mongu            Western 
Chipata        Eastern
Kabwe         Central 
Mpika            Muchinga 
Livingstone        Southern 
Solwezi        Northern-Western 
Mansa             Luapula
Kasama        Northern 
Ndola             Copperbelt 

So, there is no need for pensioners or retirees to travel to Lusaka for any queries or payment, as they are addressed at the respective regional offices. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, since the Government is experiencing financial difficulties, what assurance can the hon. Minister give that the offices will be funded and people given their money on time?

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, payments to retirees depend on the availability of funds. Retirees will be paid when the offices are funded.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) has got offices in provincial centres. However, the number of people who come to Lusaka to follow up on their pensions is overwhelming. Are the offices in provincial centres white elephants because they are not being helpful? What are you doing about this?

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, the offices are not white elephants because they are operational. There are people who are employed to attend to queries on a day-to-day basis. Further, the offices are not only found in provincial headquarters, as some of them are located in districts like Sesheke and Kaoma. 

Therefore, Sir, there may be constraints relating to financial resources. As the Government, we are doing everything possible to ensure that we send adequate resources to the provincial or district offices so that the retirees are paid as and when their money falls due. In fact, it is also true that the pension is paid electronically through the headquarters monthly at the strike of a button. The Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) advised the pensioners to submit their bank account numbers so that their money can be sent electronically. Currently, the pensioners receive their dues through their bank accounts.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Speaker, it is mandatory that workers pay pension contributions. After labouring for fifty-five years, workers have no say on how they should receive their pension. Instead of getting a lump sum, they are paid piecemeal. As result, they cannot do much with the small amounts they are paid. Sometimes, they get as low as K200. Why should workers be subjected to such kind of conditions after labouring for a very long time? 

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, this is a legal framework that has been provided regarding the payment of pension. Basically, the pension is supposed to be paid on a monthly basis after somebody has retired to enable the retirees to sustain their livelihood after retirement. This is how the law on pensions was formulated. As regards the pensioners being paid a lump sum of their benefits, there is also a provision for that in the law. I think there is an amount that is paid at the beginning and then the remaining amount is paid over a number of years as a way of taking care of the retirees. Therefore, there is a portion of the pension that is administered by the Governemnt at a certain point.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mtolo (Chipata Central): Mr Speaker, may the hon. Minister be clear on the pension offices in the provinces and districts being operational. Is this Government talking about a group of volunteers or full-time workers? In Chipata, instead of full-time workers who are supposed to solve problems relating to the payment of pensions, there is a group of volunteers, ‘squatting’ somewhere at a bank without any authority whatsoever. Would the hon. Minister confirm that.

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) is a legal entity. In other words, it is a properly-constituted institution with employees who man its offices. Essentially, when the officers get queries from the various retirees who are based in districts or provinces, they have to courier or email them to the headquarters for them to get information. All I can say is that the officers the hon. Member is referring to are full time employees under the PSPF and not volunteers. Unless there is a specific case which needs investigating to ascertain whether these are volunteers, what we know is that they are employees manning the offices in Chipata.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, at the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF), there is a list of pensioners who are due for payment. Since there are offices in certain districts, why is it that people are leaving the district offices and coming straight to Lusaka where they are assured that they will be attended to in about six or eight months’ time? 

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, first and foremost, let me say that this is a matter of people being impatient. It is also a matter of having bread and butter because people might need money urgently. Like I said earlier, if funding has not been allocated to the provincial, regional or district offices, they will not be able to pay the retirees. Retirees do not believe that this information has been sent to the headquarters. They are expected to wait for feedback from the headquarters. Instead, they decide to travel to Lusaka hoping to be paid as quickly as possible. Like you have rightly put it, there is a queue. There are people who retired earlier, and so payments will follow that particular order.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Your Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning, I am not sure whether the question has been answered. The question is: Why circumvent or by-pass the district office and come to the headquarters when there are established offices in the districts?

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, I said that this is a matter of retirees being impatient. So, they think that the solution will be found if they come to the headquarters. They, therefore, circumvent the provincial or district offices because they know there is no money there. They end up coming to Lusaka hoping to be paid as quickly as possible, which should not be the case. All I can say is that it is unfortunate that there are long queues at the district or provincial offices. We shall try as much as possible to address that discrepancy and, perhaps, liaise with the Ministry of Finance so that the funds can be made available. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Hamudulu: Mr Speaker, terminal benefits are supposed to be planned for over the period that one is in employment with the contributions from the employee and the employer. In most cases, the date of termination is known before hand. Why is it that when people reach retirement age, they have to wait for money that they have contributed for over the years when their date of termination was known? Why do people have to wait?

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, I said that terminal benefits constitute accrued leave days pay, repatriation allowance and any other allowances that may not have been paid at the time one was in employment. Pension benefits are different altogether. These are contributions an employee made to the pension scheme. Therefore, they are remitted to the pension fund. So, the pension fund only acts as soon as all the necessary formalities like filling in forms and supplying all the necessary information that the pension board or house requires, are met. Soon after, the monthly payments should begin. However, the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) may delay in paying the retiree the lump sum of money. There should be a distinction between terminal benefits, which are supposed to be paid by a line ministry or department in a particular ministry and benefits that are paid by the pension fund. Retirees have to wait for their benefits to be paid depending on the availability of funds.

I thank you, Sir.

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, I am a retiree.


Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Sir, I retired twenty years ago. What the hon. Minister is saying is not the solution to the problems that retirees go through to receive their pensions. I have not received a ‘penny’ from my pension since I retired. There are many others who are in the same situation and some of them have died without receiving a ‘penny’ from their terminal benefits. Could the Office of the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning look at the issues pertaining to retirees. 

Mr Speaker: Order!

As much as I appreciate the concern the hon. Member for Keembe has raised, I have not been able to follow his question. When responding, the hon. Minister should address that particular concern because there is no question as such.

 Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I have met some of the retirees.


Mr Speaker: Let us ask questions. I just wanted to remind the House that it is time for questions. 

You may continue, hon. Member.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, does the ministry have any plans to improve on the information flow in order to minimise retirees’ bypassing of offices and officers who have been placed near their places of residence to come to Lusaka?

 Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, I would like to confirm that plans are there. Of course, one of them is what we are doing in this House to inform the people that there are offices in their districts. We shall also improve on this in consultation with the Secretary to the Cabinet to see how best we can improve on the dissemination of information. 

Sir, as regards Hon. Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha’s issue, I would like to say that twenty years is quite a long time for one not to have received his/her terminal benefits. However, the ministry would like to know which pension scheme the hon. Member contributed to because there are a number of them such as the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA), Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) and the Local Governemnt Superannuation Fund (LASF) and others. Depending on which pension scheme the hon. Member contributed to, we may not be able to give a satisfactory answer. We have to first of all look at a particular pension scheme. Nonetheless, we have noted that concern.

 Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i):  Mr Speaker, I will focus my question on employees who contribute to the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) pension schemes.

Sir, every month, money is deducted from public workers and the Government knows who is going to retire and when they are supposed to retiree. To enable it to prepare the payment of terminal benefits, the Government has increased the retirement age from fifty-five to sixty-five. We also know that most of this money is invested. Does the Government reconcile its books to know where the contributions are or are being invested? What is making the Governemnt fail to pay retirees on time? There are many retirees in this country, especially teachers, who have not been paid their benefits. Does the Government have any mechanism in place to reconcile its books and tell the people where their money is?

 Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, reconciliations are there. If my memory serves me right, this august House receives annual reports from the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) that contain financial statements. I, therefore, expect the hon. Member to see the reconciliations and where the money is. 

Sir, normally, there is a procedure that is supposed to be followed even when you know that somebody is retiring in the sense that there is a requirement that certain documentation be lodged with a particular pension house so that the pension can be processed. Therefore, we are within the confines and requirements of the law in terms of procedures and requirements for somebody to be paid his/her pension.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.  

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I would like to restrict myself to …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.        

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was saying that I would like to direct myself to the question of terminal benefits.

Sir, like Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha said, there are many teachers in my constituency who have not been paid their terminal benefits. On average, how long does it take before somebody can be paid his/her terminal benefits? Is it supposed to take twenty years?

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, it is very difficult to state, on average, how long it should take. As a ministry, we may have to fall back on research and, perhaps, ask the pension houses to give us an answer to that effect. Like two years, twenty years is, indeed, a long time because once someone retires, he/she needs some income and to be liquid enough to look after his/her family.

So, at the moment, I am unable to give an average on how long it takes for one to get his/her terminal benefits. Like I said, terminal benefits have to do with accrued leave days, repatriation and any other allowances that may not have been paid. The payment of terminal benefits also depends on how well funded the ministry is to pay the number of people who are on the waiting list and the Ministries of General and Higher Education have long lists of that nature.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

285. Mr Mutelo asked the Minister of Transport and Communication:

(a)    when the construction of the post office in Mitete District would be completed;

(b)    what the name of the contractor for the project was; and

(c)    what the time frame for the completion of the project was.

The Deputy Minister of Transport and Communication (Mr Kapyanga): Mr Speaker, the construction of the post office and associated external works in Mitete will be completed by the end of March, 2017.

Sir, the contractor undertaking the construction of the post office is Eldermain Business Solutions.

Mr Speaker, the completion period for the construction of the post office is nineteen months, running from October, 2015, to the end of March, 2017. The contractor has since drilled a borehole and the foundation has been excavated.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that a borehole was drilled and excavation works have been carried out. Is he sure that the target will be met. Also, is the contractor currently on site or not?

Mr Kapyanga: Mr Speaker, the project is behind schedule because the contractor was only allocated land in September, 2015. The land that the contractor was originally allocated was meant for a school. As such, he had to evacuate. In view of this, it is important for the hon. Member to note that the project will be on course.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the core function of a post office is to enable people to receive and post letters for communication purposes. The Government decided to prioritise the digging of a borehole instead of constructing a post office. Can the hon. Minister explain how the people of Mitete will receive and send letters using that borehole?


Mr Kapyanga: Mr Speaker, they will continue communicating with their relatives like they have always done. However, the construction of the post office is underway.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, the response indicates that the project will be completed in March, 2017. How will it be completed by March, 2017, if the contractor is not on site at the moment? What will facilitate the speedy completion of the project?

Mr Kapyanga: Mr Speaker, the contractor has sunk a borehole and is doing other related works of constructing the post office.

I thank you, Sir.


286. Mr Mutelo asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs:

(a)    how many foreign trips the late President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, undertook during his tenure of office as Republican President; and

(b)    how many foreign trips His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, undertook from 20th January to 30th September, 2015.

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (Mr Mbulu): Mr Speaker, the former late President of the Republic of Zambia, His Excellency Mr Micheal Chilufya Sata, may his soul rest in peace, undertook twenty-one foreign trips during his tenure of office. These include:

Destination    Purpose of Trip

United States of America    70th United Nations (UN) General Assembly
The United Kingdom (UK)    Commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Commonwealth Economic Forum
Belgium    European Union (EU)/ Africa Summit
Brazil    Rio +20 Summit
Ethiopia    AU Summit
South Africa    Celebration of 100 years of African National Congress (ANC)
Mozambique    Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)    Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Summit
Switzerland    International Labour Organisation (ILO) Deliberations
Japan    State Visit
Angola    State Visit
Botswana    State Visit
South Korea    Official Visit
China    Official Visit
Uganda    Great Lakes Summit
Zimbabwe    State Visit, SADC Summit and Officiating at Trade Fair 

Sir, His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, undertook eleven foreign trips from 20th January to 30th September, 2015. These include:

Destination    Purpose of Trip

United States of America      71st UN General Assembly
China    State visit
Ethiopia    AU Summit
Zimbabwe    Trade Fair Officiating and Courtesy call on the President of Zimbabwe as Chairperson of the AU and SADC
Angola    Great Lakes Summit and Official Visit
South Africa    AU Summit
Malawi    Official Visit
Uganda    Official Visit
Botswana    SADC Summit
Mozambique        Official Visit and Commemoration of Forty Years of Independence
Namibia    Inauguration of the President and Official Visit

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, the late President Sata, may his soul rest in peace, undertook twenty-one foreign trips in the three years he was in office. President Lungu has undertaken eleven foreign trips between January and September, 2015. Why are we seeing more trips now? 

Mr Mbulu: Mr Speaker, Presidential visits are undertaken for various purposes. Firstly, there are scheduled meetings. For instance, there may be a summit at the level of the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) or the Southern African Development Community (SADC). These are constitutional meetings which every Head of State has to attend. There is another form of Presidential visit that is referred to as a state visit. This is when a President goes to visit another President informally. There could also be an official visit. This is when a President goes to visit another President on a working mission, and work is fully planned for. So, if you want to talk about how many trips the President undertook, you can extrapolate how many Presidents we have had in Zambia. So far, we have had six Presidents. As there are no rules and regulations on how many trips a President can undertake, the number of trips undertaken depends on circumstances and individual Presidents’ leadership style. 

I thank you, Sir.

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Deputy Minister clarify if a state visit is informal or formal.

Mr Mbulu: Mr Speaker, let me start by talking about an official visit. This type of visit has got a specific agenda, which a particular President is going to pursue in a respective country. I know that you were once Minister of Foreign Affairs and, obviously, you know the response to your question. A state visit may be initiated by the President himself or it may be initiated by another President to go and learn how things are done in a particular country. Another President may return the visit by coming to learn how things are done in Zambia. However, for an official visit, everything has to be done officially. We have to prepare the people who accompany the President on the visit, form delegations and provide technical expertise to the President and his entourage. However, I know that Hon. Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha knows the procedure, having passed through the corridors of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, I would like to know what the ministry and the chief advisers to the President are doing to reduce the size of the delegation on the visits undertaken by the President.

Mr Mbulu: Mr Speaker, that question emanates from the President’s Address. Early this year, the President categorically stated that as part of the austerity measures that the Government is undertaking, we should use as much as possible the professionalism in respective missions abroad. So, we are now letting our mission staff perform certain assignments. For instance, if there is work in Ethiopia where we have a mission and, depending on the type of work being carried out, we simply identify the expertise that is required to represent the country. That is what is being done in almost all the missions.

I thank you, Sir.


287. Mrs Masebo (Chongwe) asked the Minister of Finance:

(a)    what the external debt stock was as of November, 2015;

(b)    what the total national debt was, as of December, 2015;

(c)    what the ratio of the total debt to the gross domestic product  (GDP) was, as of 31st October, 2015; and

(d)    whether it was prudent for the Government to contract further domestic and external debt.

The Deputy Minister of Finance (Mr Mvunga): Mr Speaker, the total external debt stock as of November, 2015, stood at US$6,409,637,798.27. The total national debt as of December, 2015, stood at US$8,653,517,157.94. The ratio of total national debt to GDP as of 31st October, 2015, stood at 52.65 per cent and is below the indicative threshold of 56 per cent. 

Sir, the Government needs to contract debt in order to finance the Budget. However, there is a need to exercise caution in contracting further debt in order to maintain sustainable debt levels. You may wish to know that critical debt sustainability ratios, indicating the country’s ability to carry the debt burden and service the debt are below the internationally accepted indicative thresholds. As of December, 2015, the ratios were:

(a)    external debt service to exports was 6 per cent. This is way below the indicative threshold of 20 per cent;

(b)    external debt service to domestic revenues was at 17 per cent. This is way below the indicative threshold of 30 per cent; and

(c)    total debt service to domestic revenues was 27 per cent, which is marginally below the indicative threshold of 30 per cent.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the response. Clearly, from the response, we are within the indicative threshold. Therefore, the country does not have a problem as far as debt contraction is concerned. Whilst the Government may be paying back the debt on time and in full, is it not true that we are in trouble as a country at the moment? I ask because salaries are no longer being paid on time and a number of projects have stalled. This is because we are servicing debt. Is it okay for the Government to pay back debt and remain within the indicative threshold while other important projects and obligations to its people suffer? I have in mind the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) that has not been released and many other Government activities that have suffered as a result of the continued borrowing.

Mr Mvunga: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that important question. Firstly, let me explain, in broad terms, how the Government finances its expenditure. The financing of expenditure comprises domestic revenue and a combination of debt. So, it is not only debt that is used to finance projects. 

Sir, we have heard people say that salaries are being paid late. The practical reality, which is a contractual obligation between the employees and the Government, is that salaries are supposed to be paid on the last day of the month. The earlier dates on which Government employees were paid were not contractual dates for salaries. Salaries are supposed to be paid on the last working day of the month. With regard to other payments, you will appreciate that a budget is an estimate based on today’s knowledge of future events, which may move and change. For instance, in 2015, when we were drafting the 2015 Budget, copper prices were around US$6,500 per metric tonne. However, the revenues we collected were way below what we expected because of the fall in copper prices on the international market. 

So, it is not necessarily debt that is creating the challenges in matching expenditure with cash flows, but other domestically-driven factors. For instance, we have had to divert expenditure towards emergency power importation, which was a crisis that we had to deal with, and the poor performance of the mines arising from the reduction in copper prices. So, it is a combination of all these factors. The Government’s intent is to ensure that it matches revenues with expenditures as accurately as possible. However, that is theoretical. The practical reality is that you will have mismatches between when revenue comes in and when expenditure goes out. Such eventualities that are unavoidable are expected. 

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, during the administration of President Mwanawasa, SC., may his soul rest in peace, our external debt stock of about US$7.5 billion was written off through the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative arrangement. If I heard the hon. Minister correctly, he said that as at December, 2015, our external debt stood at US$8 billion. I hear that most of this debt stock is from vulture funds. This means that we cannot even negotiate to reschedule the repayment dates. If we fail to pay, the creditors will come and pick anything from among the Zambian assets. Can the hon. Minister confirm or deny whether with this arrangement, we have already mortgaged our country and, therefore, the future of generations to come is bleak.

Mr Mvunga: Mr Speaker, I just want to make a point of clarification.  Part (b) of the question is on the total national debt, which I said was US$8.6 billion as at December, 2015. Of this amount, US$2.2 billion is domestic debt and US$6.4 billion is external debt. So, I guess the hon. Member’s follow-up question is addressing the US$6.4 billion as opposed to the total amount. 

Mr Speaker, US$3 billion of the US$6.4 billion represents the Eurobonds that we have acquired over the years. So, 50 per cent of that debt stock comes from Eurobonds, which I would not term as vulture funds. In other words, the funds came from capital markets. If we look at the latest global statistics, we can see that most African countries have actually gone into capital markets to raise debt. The reason is that at some point, African markets were viewed favourably, thus we were able to access international capital markets. Previously, we could not because we did not have a positive credit rating for sovereign bonds. We were not in good standing with the international community, and hence the previous regimes could not contract debts.

As regards the issue of putting our future generations in a debt trap, the reason I have given the House the indicative world standards or international benchmarks is to demonstrate that we have been fairly prudent in terms of contracting debt and ensuring that we operate within what are regarded as international safe margins.

Finally, I think it is important to emphasise that for our economy to leapfrog to a level where we start seeing real growth in terms of the gross domestic production (GDP) in this country, we need to invest in infrastructure. Unfortunately, we do not generate sufficient domestic revenues to expand our infrastructure. Consequently, we are left with no choice, but to contract debt from capital markets in order to expand the infrastructure. Of course, this is with a view to creating economic opportunities for the country and consequently improving the living standards of our people.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, do we have any defaults on external and domestic debt? If so, what are the figures?

Mr Mvunga: Mr Speaker, as far as I am aware, we do not have any defaults at the moment. We are up to date with all our debt obligations.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Sir, I heard the hon. Minister say that the Government now intends to exercise some caution on any further borrowing. He also indicated that we need to embark on infrastructure development. However, many projects have stalled as a result of the Government’s failure to pay contractors. I have the Mazabuka Township roads in mind. China Jiangxi Corporation was contracted nearly a year ago to work on 20 km of bituminous standard roads in Mazabuka. We have had serious rains in Mazabuka contrary to people’s expectations. As a result, the top surface of roads that China Jiangxi Corporation graded, awaiting the application of bitumen has all been washed away. So, what has caused the non-payment of contractors, which has resulted in the stalling of projects like the one I have just mentioned that were already signed for and partially financed?

Mr Mvunga: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central for an enlightening question. However, I think the Government has been transparent by spelling out exactly why austerity measures had to be undertaken. The nature of austerity measures is that certain projects are postponed or deferred when you realise that you are running into cash flow difficulties because revenues have dropped. 

Sir, let me give another practical example. We reduced the mineral royalty tax from 20 per cent to 9 per cent, with the consequential impact of K2.1 billion worth of revenue being wiped out of the National Budget. We undertook a mix-and-match measure. Nothing can stop the Government from deferring or postponing projects if the contracts can be renegotiated. So, we look at each project on a contract-by-contract basis. 

Another practical measure that we undertook was not to embark on any new projects that were in the pipeline until we had finished off all work-in-progress. We are currently mixing and matching resources with expenditure and ensuring that all work-in-progress projects are prioritised before we embark on any new ones. This has resulted in certain delays, which is normal because we do realise that the revenues are not coming at the rate we had anticipated. 

So, it is not the Government’s intention or wish to delay projects. It is just a practical reality we are faced with. As a responsible Government, we need to be prudent and ensure that we prioritise expenditure and defer whatever we can to ensure that the country continues running smoothly.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, tagging on the question that was raised by the Member for Luena, Hon. Imenda, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether in his view, it is prudent to continue contracting debt at commercial interest rates on the international market. It is important to take into account the fact that this country, through Jubilee Zambia, pleaded with the international community to have its debt forgiven. After the Patriotic Front (PF) came into office, within a short period of less than four years, we have almost borrowed the equivalent of the debt that was forgiven. As a result of the Government’s religious servicing of external debt, it is failing to support Government projects and recurrent expenditure. We are aware that …

Mr Speaker: What is the question?

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, considering that the Government is failing to meet the financial obligations of Parliament, the Judiciary and Executive after having borrowed so much, is it prudent to continue contracting debt? 

Mr Mvunga: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Mwiimbu for that question. However, I am trying to clarify, in my mind, whether Hon. Mwiimbu is saying that we are failing to meet domestic payments because of the debt repayments.

Mr Nkombo: Yes!

Mr Mvunga: If that is the question, then, the answer to that is very simple. The actual repayments of debt, according to some of the statistics on external debt service that I have already given, is only 6 per cent of our exports revenue. This means that only 6 per cent of the money that Zambia generates from exports goes to debt serving, leaving a balance of 94 per cent. Given those statistics, invariably, we cannot say debt servicing is inhibiting other payments. Coming back to my earlier response, the Government funds its expenditure from borrowing, that is, grants, loans from donors and domestic revenue. The issue is that we have had a challenge of raising domestic revenues and total revenue generation for the country because of a shift in external circumstances.

Mr Speaker, a practical example I have given is that of the copper prices that were budgeted at US$6,500 per metric tonne. We were probably operating at about US$4,500 per metric tonnes for the whole of 2015. The consequence of that is that the revenues are wiped out. I gave an example of a US$2.1 billion reduction in mineral royalty tax. Why are we borrowing and why do we think borrowing is important?

Sir, I recall that it took me nine hours to drive to Chipata when the debt stock was at US$7.5 billion. If we want private partnership to succeed in Zambia, we need to ensure that we invest in infrastructure. The private sector will not move in unless the infrastructure is there. So, it is the Government’s responsibility to ensure that roads, health centres, education, water, et cetera, are there. That is the reason we are contracting this debt and we feel comfortable because it is not going into consumption, but capital projects. This needs to be understood clearly.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamudulu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that the Government has not neglected some of its obligations as a result of debt servicing by paying salaries on the last working day of the month. It is legal to do so as long as salaries are paid before the end of the month. 

Sir, is the hon. Minister aware of the anguish that civil servants are subjected to by their salaries being delayed even by a day from the date that they have always received their salaries even when this is within the legal provisions?

Mr Mvunga: Mr Speaker, to regularise this anomaly regarding the payment of salaries for civil servants, I am aware that a circular has been issued to make it clear to everyone that salaries will be paid on the last day of the month.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Konga (Chavuma): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has emphasised that the objective of foreign borrowing is to invest in infrastructure which is intended to make it easy to conduct business in Zambia. Save for the roads, where else has the money for infrastructure development gone? Have we developed other infrastructure like railways, ports and airports because, for instance, there is hardly any improvement in the Zambia Railways Limited. Yesterday, we were told that an airline called Proflight cannot land in Kasama because the airport runway is not of bituminous standard. There are other examples that I can give save for the roads where we have seen some development. What other infrastructure has been improved upon?

Mr Mvunga: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that question which is broad based. I think that the ministry in charge of the transport sector can give a more precise response on what is happening to the Zambia Railways Limited. I know that we provided funding to the company in the first Eurobond. My understanding is that this resulted to some improvement in the operations of the Zambia Railways Limited. I think that the Ministry of Transport and Communication can provide more details on this.

Sir, in terms of other infrastructure projects, I recall that I gave, in this House, a breakdown of the distribution of funding per sector, from roads to agriculture and other areas, though I do not have the list in front of me at the moment. I can reproduce the list if it is still required.
I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, I heard the hon. Minister say                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              that a lot of contracts on infrastructure development have been deferred due to a lack of resources. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the deferment of contracts does not attract any penalties and how Zambia is suffering as a result of the penalties.

Mr Mvunga: Mr Speaker, may I gladly inform this House that as we were looking at the contracts, we renegotiated with most of the contractors. The pleasant thing is that contractors who were mostly foreign and had initially charged interest and penalties on the contracts have waived the penalties and interests. So, the process of renegotiating has been beneficial.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has justified the reason of contracting external debt as, among others, the need to expand the gross domestic product (GDP) through investing in infrastructure. However, we are aware that the Government has also contracted external debt for other non-infrastructure development-related programmes and activities such as the recently reported debt that has been acquired for the purpose of maintaining peace and security in Lusaka during the elections. Hon. Minister, would you be in a position to justify that kind of external debt when all along, we have maintained peace and security during elections.

Mr Mvunga: Mr Speaker, let us separate the two areas of debt. There is the capital market debt, which is the Eurobond and which I think has gone entirely to infrastructure development. The driving factor behind commercial debt contraction is purely infrastructure development with a view to getting a rate of return that will recoup what we are paying in costs. With regard to the other bilateral debt, the Government contracts debt for other areas outside infrastructure development should the need arise. The Government’s assessment is that we need the money to implement a specific project. I cannot give you an exhaustive list of the kinds of projects these are. It is determined on a project-by-project basis and presented to the Cabinet for approval. Most of these are concessional loans. For instance, the recent loan you are talking about has got a repayment period of twenty-five years with an interest portion of about 0.1 per cent. So, this is not commercial debt. If we are funding projects other than infrastructure, what we tend to look at are soft loans.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, over the last four years, people have expressed fear at the rate at which the Government has been borrowing. When this fear was made known to the Government, it always said that we were within the parameters of prudent borrowing. The parameter that was being quoted was the debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio. Today, the hon. Minister is saying that the debt to the GDP ratio is 52.5 per cent against an international standard of 56 per cent, which means we are almost there. For the first time today, the hon. Minister has presented other parameters to gauge the level of prudent borrowing. He has mentioned the debt to export ratio and the revenue to debt service ratio which are all correct. My question is: Hon. Minister, is it not the case that now you are conveniently moving away from the debt to GDP ratio because you have seen that the ratio is going in disarray and so for the first time ever, you are mentioning other ratios because you are trying to look for refuge …


Dr Musokotwane: … and prove to us that we are okay.

Are you not fishing around for a piece of grass to hang on to?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mvunga: Mr Speaker, the reason we are providing additional ratios is that the view held by the hon. Member has become a topical issue. Therefore, we are trying to give indicators to reinforce our position that we are within the prudent borrowing limits. The export earnings ratio is meant to indicate how much export revenue we are earning against how much we are taking out in debt and demystify the expenditure. You can tell from the questions that the common view is that all the export earnings are being consumed by debt. These ratios are meant to provide further clarity that we are still fine.

Sir, the purpose of giving the domestic revenue ratio against the debt obligations is to ensure that we demonstrate that we are still within the borrowing limit. Yes, the generally accepted ratio is the GDP to debt one. Let me clarify that the ratio that the hon. Member quoted of 52 per cent is for the total national debt. If we restrict ourselves to external borrowing, we are still within the 40 per cent of the GDP threshold. 

Sir, we are being prudent and will continue managing things tightly. It should also be remembered that some of this debt is being repaid. It is not as if debt is just piling up. Some of it is reducing on a monthly basis as we make the payments.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has mentioned that it is now easy to conduct business in Zambia. Why is it that despite their borrowing heavily, this change has been dismal?

Mr Mvunga: Mr Speaker, first and foremost, let us take cognisance of the fact that the benefits of investment cannot be reaped immediately. So, if you invest in infrastructure and capital projects today, you will start reaping the benefits much later. Generally speaking, from our assessment, ease of doing business has improved in Zambia. For example, transportation is one of the biggest costs in business. The amount of time it takes a truck to move from Chirundu to Kasumbalesa has reduced now because you can drive on the roads at reasonable speed, which was not the case in the past. 

Sir, unless I can be provided with some empirical data which shows that a certain benchmark has not changed, it becomes too general a question for me to give specifics on the pointers the hon. Member wants to see. However, from our side, we know that a lot has happened. For example, the establishing of one-stop borders and installation of image scanners by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) have reduced congestion at the borders.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


288. Mr Musonda (Kapiri Mposhi) asked the Minister of Higher Education:

(a)    how many trades training institutes countrywide were currently under construction;

(b)    whether the Government had any plans to construct hostels at Kabwe Institute of Technology;

(c)    if so, when the plans would be implemented; and

(d)    if there were no such plans, why.

The Deputy Minister of Higher Education (Mr Mushanga): Mr Speaker, at the moment, there are seven new trades training institutes being constructed across the country. These are Isoka, Kalabo, Lundazi and Mumbwa trades training institutes. Others are Mpolokoso, Mwense and Sesheke trades training institutes.

Mr Speaker, additionally, there are construction works to expand four existing trades training institutes at the Northern Technical College (NORTEC), Chipata and Ukwimi. The others are the three institutes in Luanshya, including the Luanshya Technical and Business College, Teacher Vocational Training College and In-Service Training Education Centre. 

Sir, more expansion works are expected to start at the Kaoma and Choma trades training institutes.

Mr Speaker, there are no immediate plans to construct hostels at the Kabwe Institute of Technology in 2016. However, the Government’s policy is to expand existing facilities at trades training institutes and institutes of technology across the country in order to increase access to quality skills training. When such plans have been implemented, we shall include Kabwe Institute of Technology. The plans will be implemented when funds are made available.

Sir, the Government has limited resources in the midst of many competing needs. The priority of the Government is to complete the existing construction works in Isoka, Kalabo, Lundazi, Mumbwa, Mporokoso, Mwense and Sesheke. Upon completion of these projects, the Government may consider constructing hostels at the Kabwe Institute of Technology.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, the mobilisation of resources for the Kalabo Trades Training Institute is now clocking five years. When does the hon. Minister hope to see the construction of the trades school in Kalabo completed? The project has taken too long.

Mr Mushanga: Mr Speaker, I stated that these are on-going projects. What is pleasing about the Kalabo Trades Training Institute is that the site has been handed over to the contractor. The Government has shown commitment when it comes to releasing funds. We shall continue to release funds for the construction of the Kalabo Trades Training Institute until it is finally completed.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


289. Mr Miyutu asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a)    when the rehabilitation of the Mapungu/Kalabo Feeder Road in Kalabo District, which had stalled, would resume;

(b)    what the total cost of the project was; 

(c)    how much money was disbursed for the project; and 

(d)    what the time frame for undertaking the project was.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the rehabilitation of the Mapungu/Kalabo Feeder Road is expected to resume in the second quarter of 2016 under the Zambia National Service (ZNS) Primary Feeder Roads Rehabilitation Programme. 

Sir, the initial cost of the project was K6.8 million. However, the revised cost of the project will be known once the road has been re-surveyed.

Mr Speaker, K800,000 was disbursed for the project. 

Sir, the works on this project were initially meant to take six months. However, the revised completion time will be known once the road has been re-surveyed. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, K6.8 million was meant for the Mapungu/Kalabo Feeder Road, but only K800,000 was spent on the project when it was handed over to the Zambia National Service (ZNS). What caused the delay in the completion of the project by the Ministry of Works and Supply? Also, the Zambia National Service (ZNS) has not given a proper indication of when the road will be worked on.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the implementation of this project was in two phases. Under Phase I, we dealt with the installation of drainage structures, and all the works in this phase were completed in 2013. The second phase entailed gravelling a stretch of 20 km. This is the phase which could not commence due to insufficient funds. 
I thank you, Sir. 

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, three years ago, the Government removed subsidies on mealie-meal and many other commodities in the country. The justification for removing the subsidies was that the Government wanted to save money to invest in infrastructure development. In Kalabo, a bag of mealie-meal costs K100, when it used to cost K46. When are we going to benefit from the removal of subsidies so that roads such as the Mapungu/Kalabo Feeder Road can be completed quickly?

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, while I appreciate that the initial programme of works had stalled, I think that the Member of Parliament for Liuwa, Hon. Dr Musokotwane, should find comfort in the fact that works on this road will resume in the second quarter of this year. Thereafter, the expected benefits will definitely trickle down to the people.

I thank you, Sir. 


290. Mr Miyutu asked the Minister of General Education: 

(a)    whether the Government was aware that early marriages and teenage pregnancies are some of the major contributing factors to the rate of absenteeism in the Grades 7 and 9 Examinations; and 

(b)    if so, what measures the Government had taken to curb early marriages and teenage pregnancies. 

The Deputy Minister of General Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, the Government is aware that early marriages and teenage pregnancies contribute to the rate of absenteeism in the Grades 7 and 9 Examinations. Evidence to this effect was established by research which was conducted by the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ). 

Sir, the Ministry of General Education has made continuous efforts to address the issue of early marriages in a number of ways such as:

(a)    the construction of boarding facilities in rural areas to minimise the incidence of learners from renting accommodation in villages and upgrading of the 220 schools aimed at shortening the distances learners have to walk to access education;

(b)    the Re-entry Policy that facilitates the return of pregnant pupils to the school system;

(c)    stakeholder collaboration between the various line ministries such as the Ministries of Community Development and Social Welfare, Chiefs and Traditional Affairs and Youth and Sport, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) and the Forum for African Women Educationalists of Zambia (FAWEZA), and United Nations (UN) agencies. All these organisations have continued to play a pivotal role in advocacy against child marriages. Furthermore, traditional leaders also continue to play an important advocacy role in ending child marriages;

(d)    use of every platform available such as the African Girl’s Summit on Ending Child Marriage in Africa, to address the issue of early marriages. This conference was aimed at advocating for and sharing international best practices and challenges in ending child marriages; 

(e)    according to the Education Act of 2011, the punishment of marrying off a learner is imprisonment for about fifteen years; and 

(f)    production of books, with support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), to support the teaching and learning of comprehensive sexual education in our school system so as to reinforce the messages about early marriages and dangers of engaging in sexual activities at an inappropriate age. 

Sir, it is my considered view that hon. Members of Parliament should also play an important role in supporting the ministry, as ending child marriages and teenage pregnancies requires a multi-sectoral approach. Therefore, I ask hon. Members of Parliament to sensitise their communities about the effects of marrying off children at a tender age, as they go about campaigning. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has outlined all the measures and activities that the Government has put in place to address the issue of child marriages and teenage pregnancies. Hon. Minister, do you not think that the critical shortage of teachers in schools in Kalabo District is one of the contributing factors to teenage pregnancies and early marriages? 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, yes, the shortage of teachers, who are supposed to be role models for boys and girls in our school system, has contributed to teenage pregnancies and early marriages. When teachers are not there, pupils engage in activities that are inappropriate. The Ministry of General Education has continued recruiting teachers and Kalabo District has been a beneficiary of our recruitment programme. The number of teachers recruited in one year may not be enough to end the shortage of teachers in the district. However, given our commitment to improving the standard of education, more teachers will be recruited this year. I am sure that some of the schools in Kalabo, which Hon. Miyutu is worried about, will also benefit from the recruitment exercise. 

I thank you, Sir. 
Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether he is aware that there is no sensitisation on all the laws that he mentioned relating to the girl pregnancies and child marriages in rural areas. 


Mr Mutelo: People are not being sensitised. So, they still live as they did in the 1960s. Are you aware about this, hon. Minister? 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, if there is no sensitisation and education on child marriages in Mitete District, I challenge Hon. Miyutu to play the pivotal role of educating the people because he is the key partner of the Ministry of General Education. I would like the hon. Member to provide the support by working with traditional leaders in Mitete District so that they become champions in the fight against child marriages. 

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, when the Patriotic Front (PF) was campaigning in 2011, they promised the people of Barotseland that they would implement the Barotseland Agreement. When …

Prof. Luo: On a point of order, Sir. 

Mr Speaker:  A point of order is raised. 

Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to raise a point of order. I am sure you are aware that this hon. Minister rarely stands on points of order. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!

Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I have been sitting here quietly listening to the hon. Minister talk about child marriages because this is one area I have an interest in, and would like to help the hon. Member in, seeing as he is ignorant. Is he in order to point at me and warn me that he is going to beat me up when we go outside after this session? 

I need your serious ruling, Sir. 


Mr Speaker: Well, I did not notice that he was threatening you. However, if, indeed, he did so, he is certainly out of order.

Hon. Member for Liuwa, you may proceed. 

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I was saying that in 2011 when the PF was campaigning, it promised to honour the Barotseland Agreement. Once it came into power and the people reminded it about its commitment, it sent soldiers to Kalabo to harass the people and arrest them. Some of the soldiers have been responsible for impregnating our children, grandchildren and other relatives. When will the hon. Minister of General Education tell his colleague, the hon. Minister of Defence, to withdraw the soldiers and other security officers from Kalabo so that our granddaughters can live in peace once again and not be impregnated? 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, I do not have the evidence suggesting that the soldiers who went to Kalabo impregnated school-going children. However, we need law and order in this country. 

Against this background, all I can say is that if Hon. Dr Musokotwane has got that evidence, it is important that it is shared so that we can liaise with our colleagues in the Ministry of Defence on how we can sensitise and educate the soldiers that they are deployed in Kalabo for the purpose of maintaining law and order and not impregnating school-going children. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mulomba (on behalf of Mr Hamusonde) asked the Minister of General Education when Chimbusa Community School in Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency would be provided with an adequate number of qualified teachers.

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, Chimbusa Community School has four positions on its staff establishment. At the moment, there are three qualified teachers on the Government payroll. In addition to this, there are three community teachers at the school. 

Mr Speaker, the House may wish to note that the problem at Chimbusa Community School is that of a lack of accommodation, which has made it very difficult to increase the number of teachers. 

I thank you, Sir. 




The Minister of Works and Supply, Chief Whip, and Acting Leader of Government Business in the House (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to. 


The House adjourned at 1740 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 17th February, 2016.